In the opening moments of a Golden Globes night even more chaotic and confounding than usual, co-host Tina Fey raised a theoretical question: “Could this whole night have been an email?” Only the next three hours would tell. Well, sure, it could have been an email. But then you wouldn't have had Chadwick Boseman’s eloquent widow, bringing many to tears as she explained how she could never be as eloquent as her late husband. Or Jane Fonda, sharply calling out Hollywood for its lack of diversity on a night when her very hosts were under fire for exactly that. Or Chloé Zhao, making history as the first woman of Asian descent to win best director (and the first woman since 1984.) Or 98-year-old Norman Lear, giving the simplest explanation for his longevity: never living or laughing alone. Or Jodie Foster kissing her wife joyfully, eight years after very tentatively coming out on the same telecast. Of course, there were the usual confounding results and baffling snubs, compounded here by some epic Zoom fails. But then we had the kids and the dogs. And they were adorable. Next year, can we still have the kids and the dogs, please? Some key moments of the first and hopefully last virtual Globes night: AN OVERDUE RECKONING The evening began under a cloud of embarrassing revelations about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and its lack of inclusion, including the damaging fact that there are no Black members in the 87-person body. Fey and co-host Amy Poehler addressed it early: “Even with stupid things, inclusivity is important." Winners like Daniel Levy of “Schitt's Creek” and presenters like Sterling K. Brown referred to it. Jane Fonda made it a theme of her powerful speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award. And the HFPA made a hasty onstage pledge to change. “We recognize we have our own work to do,” said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” “I DON'T HAVE HIS WORDS” The best-actor award to Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” had been expected. That did not dull the emotional impact of his victory. His widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully accepted in his honour, telling viewers that her husband, who died of colon cancer at 43 before the film was released, “would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you you can. That tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history.” But, she said poignantly, “I don't have his words." Co-star Viola Davis could be seen weeping as Ledward spoke. She was not alone. PREDICTABLE ZOOM FAILS It was obvious there were going to be awkward Zoom fails. It started early, when the very first winner, Daniel Kaluuya for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” was on mute as he accepted his award, leaving presenter Laura Dern to apologize for technical difficulties. Thankfully, the problem was resolved in time for the actor to speak. Jason Sudeikis, whose charmingly rambling speech ("This is nuts!") and rumpled hoodie signalled he hadn't expected to win, finally realized he needed to “wrap this puppy up.” And winner Catherine O'Hara ("Schitt's Creek") had some perhaps unwelcome help from her husband, whose efforts to provide applause sounds and play-off music on his phone while she spoke lost something in translation, causing confusion on social media. Oh yes, and there were those conversations between nominees before commercials — did they know we heard them? KIDS AND PETS, STILL BRINGING JOY Still, the virtual acceptances from winners stuck at home had a huge silver lining: happy kids and cute pets. When Mark Ruffalo won for “I Know This Much is True,” two of his teens could not control their joy enough to stay out of the camera shot. Not to be outdone, the adorable young daughter of Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the Korean-American family drama “Minari,” sat in his lap and hugged him throughout his acceptance for best foreign language film. “She’s the reason I made this film,” said Chung. Winner Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") also had a family member in her lap: her dog. Also seen: Sarah Paulson's dog, and Emma Corrin's cat. LOVE FOR BORAT, SNUB FOR BAKALOVA ... AND EXPOSURE FOR GIULIANI Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, breakout star of Amazon’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” had been widely expected to win, but lost out to Rosamund Pike ("I Care a Lot") who saluted Bakalova's bravery. In her movie, Pike said, “I had to swim up from a sinking car. I think I still would rather do that than have been in a room with Rudy Giuliani.” The former New York mayor's infamous cameo was also the butt of jokes from “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen, who called Giuliani “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius ... I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping?” Baron Cohen, who won for best actor in a comedy, also joked that Donald Trump was “contesting the result” of his win. A FIERY FONDA Did you expect anything less from Fonda? In her memorable DeMille award speech, the multiple Globe winner extolled the virtues of cinematic storytelling — “stories can change our hearts and our minds” — then pivoted to admonishing Hollywood. “There's a story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves,” she said, “a story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out: a story about who’s offered a seat at the table and who’s kept out of the rooms where decisions are made.” She said the arts should not merely keep step with society, but lead the way. “Let's be leaders,” she said. ZHAO MAKES HISTORY When Zhao won best director for her haunting and elegant “Nomadland,” she was the first Asian American woman ever to win that award. But that wasn't the only way she made history: it was the first directing Globe for a woman in nearly 40 years, since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl." Her film, a look at itinerant Americans, “at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” Zhao said. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, we don’t say goodbye, we say: See you down the road.” With Zhao's win, the road widens for other female directors. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Norman Lear is 98, not 99. Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
Emma Corrin just won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Princess Diana.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
It’s hard to say what is the more impressive feat — remotely landing a spacecraft on Mars, or a kid from Norfolk County landing a job at NASA. Christopher Heirwegh’s unlikely trajectory took him from a Simcoe Composite School physics class to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where an instrument he helped design is scanning the surface of Mars for signs of ancient life. “It’s been a very exciting past couple of weeks, starting with the anticipation leading up to the landing, followed by the joy of knowing it made it successfully,” said Heirwegh, 39, a few days after watching the Mars rover Perseverance complete its 300 million-mile journey to the Red Planet on Feb. 18. As Perseverance floated down to the surface, Heirwegh was on the edge of his seat at his home in Pasadena, Calif. His wife, Meagan, and their six-year-old daughter, Harper, were by his side, with the rest of Heirwegh’s JPL team sharing in the suspense on a video call. “It hit me right at that moment before landing, around the parachute phase, that things are going to come in fast, and oh boy, if this doesn’t make it, where do we go from here?” Heirwegh said. “There was certainly some tension.” Perseverance’s thrusters soon kicked in to start its powered descent, and a sky crane took over to gently place the rover on Mars. While mission control filled with the cheers of relieved scientists, the Heirweghs tucked into celebratory shawarma and cake. Now that Perseverance is trundling around the Jezero crater, Heirwegh’s work has just begun. The physicist is keeping a close eye on PIXL, a high-tech X-ray machine that has been his sole professional focus since joining NASA in 2016. PIXL — the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry — is one of two instruments mounted on the lander’s robotic arm that will help answer the mission’s central question — has there been life on Mars? About the size of a lunch box, PIXL’s job is to scan Martian rocks for trace elements that could point to the presence of ancient life, while taking what Heirwegh describes as “super close-up pictures of rock and soil textures” that could reveal microbial evidence smaller than a grain of salt. PIXL has an X-ray tube at its heart, similar to what dentists use when photographing teeth. The scanner shoots pinpoint-sized X-ray beams into the rock, a process not unlike how artwork investigators chemically analyze paintings to detect forgeries. “We’re looking at things that tell us what the rock is made of, where the rock might have come from, if it was exposed to water, and also if it might have potentially harboured very primitive forms of life at one time,” Heirwegh explained. PIXL is best at finding evidence of inorganic material — heavier elements like calcium, lead and strontium — while another instrument on the rover, called SHERLOC, looks for “the building blocks of life,” lighter organic molecules like carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Together, they search for “biosignatures” suggestive of fossilized bacteria that may have called a Martian ocean home billions of years ago. “Our two instruments can each produce two-dimensional elemental maps,” Heirwegh said, likening each pinpoint of data collected to the pixels on a television that combine to form a clear picture. “We’re hoping we can eventually overlay the two maps so we can really get a good idea of what the rock is all about.” Reaching for the stars The grandson of tobacco farmers who immigrated to Norfolk County from Belgium, Heirwegh grew up enthralled by the stars in the night sky and the vastness of space. He never missed an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation — “mostly just the Rodenberry years,” he clarified — and pored over images of the solar system captured by the Voyager probes. “I found that pretty fascinating, and that kind of led me to what I do now,” he said. Mike and Laurie Heirwegh have followed their son’s career with pride. “Some of the stuff is way above what we understand. Christopher always keeps it as simple as possible for us,” Mike said with a laugh. Mike, a retired pharmacist and business owner, said his “studious” and “reserved” son excelled in a science-heavy course load at Simcoe Composite School. “Whitney, our daughter, said he had this microscope he got at Christmas and would project images up in his room and explain what was on the slides to her and her sister Danielle,” added Laurie, who owns a gift shop in Simcoe. Four years studying undergraduate science at McMaster University in Hamilton led to a master’s in medical physics at Mac, where Heirwegh first tried his hand at X-ray technology. He further studied X-ray fluorescence and radiation science while doing his PhD and post-doctoral fellowship in applied physics at the University of Guelph, which involved analyzing data collected by the Opportunity and Curiosity Mars rovers. That piqued NASA’s interest, creating a rare opportunity for a Canadian to join the Jet Propulsion Lab. “There were not too many people who were doing that,” Mike Heirwegh said. “To get a job like he’s doing in NASA, you have to be uniquely different than any American.” The family left their house in Guelph to make a new life in America, with Meagan Heirwegh, herself an accomplished academic, putting her career on hold so her husband could follow his dream. “She was extremely supportive of taking this step,” Heirwegh said. “That’s been a really key part of it, and something that helped me to have the courage to make such a drastic move.” While navigating the immigration process, Heirwegh got to work calibrating PIXL years ahead of its launch on Perseverance. Past Mars rovers have used X-ray fluorescence spectrometers, but PIXL is the first with an X-ray tube, a technological milestone Heirwegh finds “quite rewarding.” In the months ahead, Heirwegh and his fellow scientists will analyze the trove of scientific data Perseverance will transmit across space to the Jet Propulsion Lab, while making sure their high-tech scanner stays properly calibrated. To keep himself calibrated in what can be a high-pressure job, Heirwegh exercises every morning, and he and Meagan solve a Mensa puzzle together over breakfast. “It’s a nice way to jump-start the physical and mental gears,” he said. Heirwegh could not have known what the future held when he decided to leave Canada and boldly go to NASA to reach for the stars. But his parents say their son was destined to work on the Mars project. “I think the term ‘perseverance’ is very much like Christopher,” Mike said. “He persevered to get to where he is.” J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Wednesday: SPAIN Two days after former president Josep Maria Bartomeu was arrested in an investigation into alleged irregularities during his administration, Barcelona tries to reverse a 2-0 first-leg loss to Sevilla in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey. The teams met in the Spanish league on Saturday, with Barcelona winning 2-0 in Seville. Wednesday's match will be at the Camp Nou Stadium. The Copa del Rey is the tournament in which Barcelona is the closest to ending its title drought. It lost 4-1 to Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League and is five points off the lead in the Spanish league. Sevilla, sitting fourth in the Spanish league, was coming off a nine-game winning streak in all competitions but has won only one of its last three games. ENGLAND Injury-hit Leicester is looking to ward off another late-season collapse as Brendan Rodgers' team heads to Burnley in the Premier League. Leicester is third and five points clear of fifth-place Chelsea in the race for Champions League qualification but has seen key players like James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, James Justin and Jonny Evans get injured in recent weeks. Injuries contributed to a loss of form late last season as Leicester dropped out of the top four in the final days. Second-place Manchester United, which is a point ahead of Leicester, visits Crystal Palace and last-place Sheffield United is 15 points from safety ahead of a home match against Aston Villa. ITALY AC Milan will be without key forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic as it attempts to close the gap to league leader Inter Milan. Second-place Milan will be looking to win at home against Udinese to move to within one point of its city rival, with Inter playing at Parma the following day. Atalanta should keep hold of fourth place as it hosts bottom club Crotone but Roma and Napoli will want to take advantage of any slip up and they visit Fiorentina and Sassuolo, respectively. At the other end of the table, Cagliari could move out of the relegation zone with a victory over Bologna. Benevento and Genoa are also far from safe and they host Hellas Verona and Sampdoria, respectively. FRANCE After dropping points with draws last weekend, Lille and Lyon need wins to pressure Paris Saint-Germain and hold off Monaco. Lille remains in first place but only leads second-place PSG by two points, while fourth-place Monaco has moved to just one behind third-place Lyon in a fascinating title race much closer than most observers had anticipated. Defending champion PSG is away at Bordeaux, and Monaco is in Alsace to play Strasbourg, while Lille hosts seventh-place Marseille, and Lyon welcomes a visiting Rennes side in the ninth spot after three straight league losses. GERMANY Leipzig hosts Wolfsburg in the quarterfinals of the German Cup with the daunting task of beating a Wolfsburg defence which hasn't conceded a goal in eight league and cup games. The two teams are also battling in the league, where Leipzig is second and Wolfsburg third. Leipzig is on its own run of good form, with six wins from its last seven games, the only blip being a 2-0 loss to Liverpool in the Champions League. Leipzig left-back Angelino is set to miss the game for fitness reasons. Fourth-tier Rot-Weiss Essen is by far the lowest-level team left in the cup as it hosts second-division Holstein Kiel. Both teams pulled off surprise wins earlier in the competition as Essen eliminated Bayer Leverkusen and Kiel knocked out reigning champion Bayern Munich. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Regina– When government spending not allocated within an approved budget takes place, the government must use “special warrants.” On March 1, the Government of Saskatchewan announced a number of these warrants. Typically the provincial Legislature meets in February, and a budget is released in March. However, the first sitting of this spring’s session will be on April 6, which will also be budget day. In the meantime, the government said in a release, “To help protect Saskatchewan people and businesses through the global COVID-19 pandemic, the $200 million health and public safety contingency has been drawn down, with $160 million in new contingency allocations. Combined with other spending needs for the 2020-21 fiscal year, this required the issuing of February special warrants totaling $322.8 million.” “These special warrants are needed for pandemic-related costs, as well as for health system requirements, AgriInvest Program payments, and highways construction and winter maintenance,” Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said in a release. “In part through these special warrants, as well as in-year appropriation approved earlier in the fiscal year, our government has drawn down the Health and Public Safety Contingency.” Trent Wotherspoon, NDP Finance Critic, said in an emailed statement on March 1, “The government’s announcement strengthens our call today to open the books and provide the 3rd Quarter financial report. They’re spending another $300 million without this basic act of accountability and transparency. We have called for the contingency fund to be used to fight COVID-19 and support families, businesses and jobs for months. The Sask. Party has failed to make that happen. There should have been a plan in place long ago to make much-needed investments in an open and transparent manner. “This province is at a critical point in our economic history. “The people of Saskatchewan deserve to have all the information available. All we get from the Sask. Party is more delays, more mismanagement and less transparency.” Details The new contingency allocations totaling $160 million, consist of: The first $40 million of the $200 million contingency was allocated to the Safe School Plan in the first quarter of the 2020-21 fiscal year, to support the safe re-opening on K-12 schools in the province. Six ministries required special warrants, including: Special warrant amounts will be included in the Supplementary Estimates No. 2, which will be tabled on budget day, April 6, 2021. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
CHARLOTTETOWN — Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison says all people over 80 will get their second dose based on existing appointments, but after that the interval between doses will be extended. She says having everyone over 16 partially vaccinated by July would bring "the finish line" into much sharper focus. Morrison reported four new cases of COVID-19 in the province today involving three men and one woman, all in their 20s. There are now 22 active cases on the Island, and there have been a total of 136 cases since the onset of the pandemic. Morrison said test results from the National Microbiology Laboratory have confirmed that two earlier COVID-19 cases involving two women in Charlottetown are linked to the more transmissible variant first identified in the United Kingdom. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Some of the Toronto van attack victims and their families are nervously waiting to learn the fate of the man whose deadly rampage three years ago changed their lives forever.On Wednesday morning, live on YouTube, Justice Anne Molloy will deliver her verdict in the case of Alek Minassian, who deliberately drove a rented van down a crowded Toronto sidewalk on April 23, 2018, killing 10 pedestrians and injured 16 others."I've been anxious for months, much more so than I thought I'd be," said Catherine Riddell, 70, who was out for a walk when Minassian's van hit her from behind.Minassian has admitted to planning and carrying out the attack, but pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. The 28-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., argued at trial that he should be found not criminally responsible for his actions due to autism spectrum disorder. The trial will turn on Minassian's mindset at the time."He's a mass killer who has autism, that's it," said Riddell, who suffered a fractured spine and broken ribs, scapula and pelvis in the attack. She also suffered a minor brain injury and internal bleeding."I'm really nervous," said Robert Forsyth, whose aunt, Betty Forsyth, 94, was killed by Minassian when she was out for a walk on an unusually warm and sunny April day. "He's got to be guilty, right?"Betty Forsyth, Ji Hun Kim, So He Chung, Geraldine Brady, Chul Min Kang, Anne Marie Victoria D'Amico, Munir Najjar, Dorothy Marie Sewell, Andrea Bradden and Beutis Renuka Amarasingha died in the attack.The seven-week trial that started in November focused on the inner workings of Minassian's mind. The prosecution opened with a painstakingly detailed examination of how all 26 people were killed or hurt.The trial heard that after weeks of planning, Minassian sat in the driver's seat of his rental van at the intersection of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue in the north end of the city around 1:30 p.m.When the light turned green, he floored it, hopped the curb and hit a group of pedestrians, killing two. He drove for about two kilometres on and off the sidewalk as he killed and maimed unsuspecting pedestrians along the way. Minassian only stopped when one of his victims spilled their drink on his windshield and he worried he'd crash. On a side street he hopped out of the van and tried to get killed by police, "suicide by cop" being part of his plan. Minassian tried to fool an approaching police officer by pulling his wallet, pretending it was a gun, but it didn't work."I'm a murdering piece of shit," Minassian told the booking officer shortly thereafter.Several hours later Minassian told a detective he committed the attack as retribution against society because he was a lonely virgin who believed women wouldn't have sex with him. Later, he told various assessors that the so-called "incel" motive was a ruse, designed to increase his notoriety. He was still a lonely virgin, however, that part was true.He went on to tell different doctors different reasons for his attack. He said he had "extreme anxiety" over a new job he was about to start. He also wanted to "set a world record" for kills in order to be atop an online leaderboard of mass killers.If he accomplished that, then he wouldn't be viewed as a failure, he told a forensic psychiatrist. Minassian also told them he had a strong desire to commit a mass killing and was infatuated with an American mass murderer.The central question at trial was whether Minassian knew what he did was morally wrong. The legal test in this case focuses on whether he had the capacity at the time to make a rational choice.The defence's star witness, American-based forensic psychiatrist Dr. Alexander Westphal, testified that Minassian's autism left him without the ability to develop empathy.Minassian's lawyer, Boris Bytensky, said that lack of empathy left him incapable of rational choice, and, ultimately, to know what he did was morally wrong. The prosecution argued Minassian knew what he did was wrong, in part because he told many of his assessors he knew killing 10 people that day was morally wrong.Minassian had a decade-long fixation on mass school shootings, the Crown pointed out. That fixation morphed into fantasies of committing a mass shooting at his own high school, where he was picked on.But he never followed through, in part, because he did not know how to get a gun. "There's no evidence he ever lost the fact of the wrongness of his actions," said Crown attorney Joe Callaghan.The prosecution's key witness, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Percy Wright, said Minassian had some empathy and knew what he did was wrong, thereby did not qualify for the test that he was not criminally responsible for his actions.Renowned forensic psychiatrist, Dr. John Bradford, who has evaluated some of the country's most notorious killers, said Minassian did not meet the test to be found not criminally responsible.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said Tuesday that it plans to have a live induction of its 36th class on Oct. 30 in Cleveland — before an actual audience! The induction ceremony will take place in the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and tickets will be available to the general public. “We are optimistic and hopeful for the ceremony,” said Greg Harris, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Inductees will be announced in May. Nominees include Jay-Z, the Foo Fighters, Mary J. Blige, The Go-Go's, Devo and Carole King. Currently, Ohio permits crowds of up to 25% capacity at the arena for Cavaliers games. The hall is hopeful that the percentage will increase by the time of the induction, but promised to follow best health practices. It will be the sixth time the induction ceremony will be held in Cleveland, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. For the past decade, the hall has invited fans to buy tickets for the speeches and live performances, instead of just an audience of industry insiders. Harris said a fall induction ceremony, moved from the spring last year because of COVID, will become permanent. He seemed wistful at a news conference as he played a clip of past ceremonies, to the sound of Prince's performance of “Let's Go Crazy” from his induction. “Watching that footage makes me realize how much we miss live music,” he said. The Associated Press
The federal government says the door is open to help producers affected by the closure of a central Alberta pork plant where an outbreak of COVID-19 has infected hundreds of workers and resulted in three deaths. Olymel temporarily closed its plant in Red Deer more than two weeks ago. The company is moving its own pigs that would normally be slaughtered at the plant to its operations in the United States to free up capacity for independent producers in Canada. It estimates there's a backlog of 80,000 to 90,000 animals that should be cleared within four to five weeks once the plant reopens. Cabinet minister Jim Carr held a virtual news conference from his home in Winnipeg on Tuesday to provide an update on an emergency fund for meat-processing companies and to address the situation at Olymel. "Last spring, when outbreaks caused plants to slow down or close, we moved quickly to help livestock producers manage the growing backlog of animals on their farms," said Carr, who is the government's special representative to the Prairies. "Our government stands ready to help producers affected by the temporary closure of the Olymel plant in Red Deer, Alberta. If needed, federal funding will be there to assist pork producers with extraordinary herd management costs such as additional feed costs." Carr was vague when asked for details on what the assistance would look like. "We'll have to see what the needs are moving forward. The point we wanted to make is that the door is open for assistance if required." The federal government set up a $77.5 million emergency fund in September to help food processors deal with COVID-19 by adapting new safety protocols, including acquiring more protective equipment for workers. Another $10 million has been added since. The fund is also supposed to help upgrade and reopen meat facilities shuttered due to outbreaks of the novel coronavirus. Carr said the program has provided more than $7.8 million to 24 meat-processing companies across the Prairies, but is no longer taking applications. "We were out of the gate quickly. We adjusted as we learned what elements of programs were working and what elements were working less well," he said. "The same thing is true now as we move forward into the next phase of the pandemic." The meat-packing sector has been hard hit by the health crisis. Cargill temporarily shut down plants in High River, Alta., and Chambly, Que., last year after COVID-19 outbreaks. Olymel shut down its hog slaughter and processing plant in Yamachiche, Que., and the JBS beef plant in Brooks, Alta., temporarily went down to one shift daily from two. Cargill and JBS operations in Alberta account for 70 per cent of Canada's beef production. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021 — Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
Another GTA region has begun inoculating seniors 80 years of age and older. Shallima Maharaj has the story.
Which Canadian political party has the best interests of Black people at heart?
Les 43 chefs des Premières Nations du Québec et du Labrador ont adopté à l’unanimité le Principe de Joyce, qui vise à rappeler au gouvernement son devoir et ses responsabilités de donner aux autochtones des soins de santé et sociaux équitables et sans discrimination. Inspiré de la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones, ce principe se veut un guide rassembleur pour les gouvernements, institutions et individus et vise également à garantir aux autochtones un droit de jouir du meilleur état possible de santé physique, mentale, émotionnelle et spirituelle. C’est lors d’une assemblée virtuelle tenue le 26 février que les chefs de l’Assemblée des Premières Nations Québec-Labrador ont signé la résolution. Le Principe de Joyce requiert obligatoirement la reconnaissance et le respect des savoirs et connaissances traditionnelles et vivantes des autochtones en matière de santé. «L’APNQL est formellement engagée dans la promotion et le respect du Principe de Joyce», a mentionné le chef de l’APNQL, Ghislain Picard. Le Principe de Joyce est en hommage au courage de Joyce Echaquan, morte dans des circonstances épouvantables, le 28 septembre 2020. Un décès tragique qui a révélé au grand jour la présence de racisme systémique dans le système de santé québécois. Décédée sous une pluie d’insultes racistes alors qu’elle était hospitalisée et souffrante à l’hôpital de Joliette. Avant sa mort, Joyce a pu filmer ces agissements ignobles de la part de membres du personnel soignant. Pour l’APNQL, ce principe est un appel à l’action à l’engagement des gouvernements, afin d’éliminer le racisme et la discrimination dans les services offerts aux Premières Nations. 2 M$ Par ailleurs, le gouvernement du Canada octroie 2 M$ pour assurer la mise en œuvre du Principe de Joyce. Ce montant permettra au Conseil de la Nation atikamekw et au Conseil des Atikamekw de Manawan d’offrir des formations ciblées sur le Principe de Joyce et destinées aux professionnels de la santé, sans oublier de faire la promotion de ce principe à travers le pays. «Le racisme à l’endroit des autochtones est ancré depuis bien trop longtemps dans nos systèmes de santé. Nous devons tous continuer à dénoncer le racisme et la discrimination dont sont victimes les autochtones partout au pays», a dit le ministre des Services aux autochtones, Marc Miller, par communiqué. Bourses En janvier, l’Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue et l’Institut national de la recherche scientifique annonçaient la mise sur pied d’une bourse de 36 000$ sur deux ans en mémoire de Joyce pour soutenir des femmes autochtones dans la poursuite d’études supérieures. Devant cet élan de générosité et de reconnaissance, les Fonds de recherche du Québec scientifique ont aussi décidé d’offrir une seconde bourse du même montant et selon les mêmes modalités. Joyce Echaquan était une femme atikamekw de 37 ans et mère de sept enfants. Stéphane Tremblay, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican defended Pope Francis’ decision to go ahead with his trip to Iraq this weekend despite rising coronavirus infections there, saying Tuesday all health care precautions have been taken and that the trip is an “act of love for this land, for its people and for its Christians.” Francis is due to visit Iraq Friday-Monday in his first foreign trip since the pandemic erupted last year. Planning for the trip went into high gear after infections fell, but cases have spiked in the past month and infectious disease experts say a papal trip to a country with a fragile health care system simply is not a good idea. The Vatican has taken its own precautions, with the 84-year-old pope, his 20-member Vatican entourage and the 70-plus journalists on the papal plane all vaccinated. Iraq, however, only began its vaccination campaign Tuesday and most Iraqis who come to see the pope won't be inoculated. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni was asked how the Vatican could justify exposing Iraqis to such a risk of infection when the Vatican itself has been on a modified lockdown for months, with no public audiences, and why the trip couldn’t be postponed for even a few months. Bruni noted that Iraq has a predominantly young population and that the current daily caseload was small compared to the overall population. He said the trip has been designed to limit crowds, and that all papal events would follow Iraqi health protocols that include limited participation, social distancing, mask mandates and other measures. The pope will use a covered car — likely armoured — for all his transfers, which the Vatican says should limit the formation of crowds on the street. However, he is to celebrate a Mass for an expected 10,000 people in the sports stadium in Erbil and will use an open car there. “An entire community and an entire country will be able to follow this journey through the media and know that the pope is there for them, bringing a message that it is possible to hope even in situations that are most complicated," he said. Asked why the trip couldn't be postponed, Bruni said this period was “the first possible moment for a journey like this” and that there is “an urgency” to go. The aim of the trip is to encourage Iraq’s dwindling Christian communities that were violently persecuted by the Islamic State group, and to promote greater dialogue with Iraq’s Shiite majority. The trip will mark the first-ever papal meeting with a grand ayatollah, the Iranian-born Shiite cleric Ali al-Sistani. “Perhaps the best way to interpret this journey is as an act of love for this land, for its people and for its Christians,” Bruni said. “Every act of love can be interpreted as extreme, but as an extreme confirmation to be loved and confirmed in that love.” He acknowledged there might be consequences, but said the Vatican measured the need for Iraqis to feel the pope was close to them and loved them. “Obviously the pope also looks at this need,” Bruni said. Francis' itinerary includes a meeting Friday with priests, seminarians and nuns in the Syro-Catholic Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad, where Islamic militants in 2010 slaughtered 58 people in what was the deadliest assault targeting Christians since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. The massacre was carried out by Al-Qaida in Iraq, which later became the Islamic State group. Francis will also travel north, to Kurdistan and the northern Iraqi cities of Mosul and Qaraqosh, which were devastated by IS and where Christian communities that date to the time of Christ were nearly emptied of their residents, and their churches and homes destroyed. In between, Francis will travel to southern Najaf to the home of al-Sistani, a figure revered in Iraq and the Shiite world. Nearby, he will preside over an interfaith gathering in Ur, the biblical birthplace of Abraham, the prophet common to Christians, Muslims and Jews. The meeting is expected to take place in the shadow of Ur's magnificent pyramid-shaped zigguraut, part of a UNESCO world heritage site. Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — One of the most intriguing parts of the costumes at the Broadway play “A Soldier's Story” was something the audience likely never saw. Each of the 12 actors wore uniforms carefully reflecting the attire of real soldiers in 1944. Their boots, too, were faithful replications. But around their necks were dog tags carefully etched with each character's name, age and religious affiliation. The dog tags — usually tucked under the costumes and out of sight — gave the actors something they could physically hold as they got into character. They became touchstones for their roles. It was the brainchild of Dede Ayite, who has earned two 2021 Tony Award costume design nominations. Even if few sitting in the audience knew about the dog tags or what they said, it was her gift to the actors, her attempt to deepen the experience. “Stuff like that brings me joy. I don’t need the audience to know that," said Ayite. "It’s building up of those layers that adds even more texture to a piece.” Showing her versatility, Ayite also is nominated for designing the costumes for “Slave Play,” Jeremy O. Harris’ bracing work about an antebellum fantasy therapy workshop. If “A Soldier's Play” was regimented and historically accurate, “Slave Play” is fantasy and fetishism. “I love the way clothes make me feel. I love the stories you can tell through clothing,” said Ayite, who noted that on this interview day her red sweater had shifted her demeanour. “That’s the power and the beauty of what clothes can do. I want to be able to tap into that.” For “A Soldier's Play,” which explores racism within a Black U.S. Army unit, Ayite created special padding in the elbows and knees for actor David Alan Grier, who was frequently pummeled onstage. The soldiers' boots had to look broken in so she handed them out at the beginning of rehearsals. For “Slave Play,” Ayite put a leather dominatrix outfit under a hoop skirt for one character and mixed contemporary items — like Calvin Klein underwear — with Civil War-era pieces to make the viewer question what they were seeing. “There is a sort of home-grown quality to it. The characters have sort of like put their own spin on each of these costumes,” said “Slave Play” director Robert O’Hara. “I think that people watching the show will say, ‘Wait a minute. That looks out of time with the time period.’ So there are winks in the costumes throughout.” Ayite said she's always been curious about what makes humans tick, and she had one of the more astounding double majors of anyone on Broadway — theatre and behavioural neuroscience. She excelled at both, but at some point had to pick career paths. “I needed to choose the thing that brought me the most joy and the thing that sort of kept my heart intact and my spirit intact. And that was art,” she said. “I just kept saying yes to the thing that spoke to my heart. And it’s brought me here today. And for that I’m grateful.” She has a master’s in design from the Yale School of Drama and teaches at Harvard University. Ayite said she likes the collaborative nature of theatre, and her art is a “soul calling.” “There’s nothing like watching an audience experience the world you helped to create and to see them moved,” she said. "I don’t need to run up there and say, ‘Hey, look at me,’ because I see that, I see the effect.” Her other Broadway credits include “American Son” and “Children of a Lesser God.” Her work has been seen at Steppenwolf, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory, Baltimore Center Stage, Arena Stage and Cleveland Playhouse. Ayite learned she had earned two Tony nominations last fall while at the dentist, who was encouraging. “He said, ‘You know what? I feel good about this. I think it’s going to be a good day’” she said he told her. She was still processing the first text message of a nomination when a second arrived with more good news. “It is it is a huge honour to think that people who see theatre and people who appreciate theatre are seeing my work and they’re recognizing the effort that goes into it,” she said. The pandemic put on hold two plays she also worked on — revivals of “How I Learned to Drive” and ”American Buffalo." Both sets of costumes are in storage, awaiting the return of live theatre. But when it does, Ayite is ready to tweak and enhance. “I definitely would like to look at the costumes again, acknowledge what we’ve done so far, but then also think of them through the lens of what we’ve all gone through in the last year and a half,” she said. “We’re all different today.” ___ Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
Dr. Seuss Enterprises released a statement that the company will stop the sale and publication of six books that "portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong."
YANGON, Myanmar — Police in Myanmar repeatedly used tear gas and rubber bullets Tuesday against crowds protesting last month's coup, but the demonstrators regrouped after each volley and tried to defend themselves with barricades as standoffs between protesters and security forces intensified. Authorities have escalated their crackdown on the protests in recent days. The United Nations said it believed at least 18 people were killed on Sunday when security forces fired into crowds, while a rights group said more than 1,000 people were detained over the weekend, including an Associated Press journalist. A lawyer for the journalist said he has been charged with an offence that could see him imprisoned for up to three years. Despite the increasingly brutal crackdown, demonstrators have continued to flood the streets — and are beginning to more rigorously resist attempts to disperse them. Hundreds, many wearing construction helmets and carrying makeshift shields, gathered in Myanmar's largest city of Yangon, where a day earlier police had fired repeated rounds of tear gas. They dragged bamboo poles and debris to form barricades, chanted slogans and sang songs at the police lines. They even threw banana skins onto the road in front of them in a bid to slow any police rush. The mainly young demonstrators fled in panic each time tear gas canisters were fired but soon returned to their barricades. Videos posted on social media showed similar chaotic scenes in the Insein neighbourhood of northern Yangon. Protesters also took up their flags and banners to march through the streets of Dawei, a small city in southeastern Myanmar that has seen almost daily large demonstrations against the coup. One group of demonstrators was targeted by the security forces as it entered a narrow street on its way to pay respects at the house of a man killed in Sunday’s crackdown. Another was attacked on the main street in the city’s centre. Police also dispersed protests in Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city, on Tuesday. Yangon, Dawei and Mandalay were among the cities where security forces reportedly fired live ammunition into crowds Sunday, according to the U.N. Human Rights Office. There were reports that they also fired live rounds Tuesday, but they could not immediately be confirmed. Some fear the junta’s escalating use of force is meant to provoke a violent backlash by the demonstrators — who have largely remained nonviolent — in order to discredit them and justify an even harsher crackdown. Videos from recent days show a greater number of protesters trying to stand their ground and throw objects at the police. “I beg the people in Myanmar not to fall in this trap, so to stay peaceful,” U.N. Special Envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener said in interview with CNN, acknowledging that it was easier for her, safely away from the violence, to urge peaceful protesting. She also accused the authorities of spreading rumours about the conditions of people in detention to stir up even more anger on the streets. The Feb. 1 coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar after five decades of military rule. It came the day a newly elected Parliament was supposed to take office. Ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party would have been installed for a second five-year term, but instead she was detained along with President Win Myint and other senior officials. The military government has charged Suu Kyi, 75, with several offences that critics say are trumped up merely to keep her jailed and potentially prevent her from participating in the election promised in a year’s time by the military. Her party says it does not know where Suu Kyi — who has a long history of campaigning for democracy in Myanmar — is being held. The weekend crackdown drew international condemnation. In addition to the use of force, authorities also detained more than 1,000 people, according to the independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. That included at least eight journalists, among them Thein Zaw of the AP, who was detained while covering the protests. His lawyer said Tuesday that he and five other Myanmar journalists have been charged with violating a public order law. The AP has decried his detention as arbitrary and called for his immediate release. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called the use of force and arbitrary arrests “unacceptable,” according to his spokesperson. The U.S., British and other governments issued similar statements of concern. But the military has showed no sign of backing down. The protesters and their supporters have appealed for help from abroad, but there are few prospects for major intervention. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a regional group of 10 nations, has a policy of seeking a consensus among its members, making it unlikely to take strong action. A virtual meeting Tuesday of the group's foreign ministers ended with only a statement — issued by the group’s chair, rather than a joint declaration — calling for an end to violence and for talks to try to reach a peaceful settlement. The U.N.’s independent expert on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, has proposed that countries could institute a global embargo on the sale of arms to Myanmar and “tough, targeted and co-ordinated sanctions” against those responsible for the coup, the crackdown and other rights abuses. But any kind of co-ordinated action at the United Nations would be difficult since two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, China and Russia, would almost certainly veto it. Some countries have imposed or are considering imposing their own sanctions. ___ Associated Press writers Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, contributed to this report. The Associated Press
ALGIERS, Algeria — Hundreds of students restarted their weekly Tuesday protest marches that were called off last spring because of the coronavirus. The march came eight days after the Hirak pro-democracy movement reappeared in streets around the country to mark its second anniversary and days after the weekly Friday marches restarted. Hirak's peaceful protests helped force long-time President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office in 2019. His successor, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, has promised reform of the system marked by corruption under Bouteflika and with the shadow of the army ever-present. “Civilian state and not a military state,” one group of students cried out, hoisting high a banner reading “We don't go home until the demands of Hirak are met.” Police watched, their vans blocking some streets, as marchers detoured around security forces, moving through winding streets at the bottom of Algiers' famed Casbah toward the imposing central post office, the traditional rallying point for the Hirak. Demonstrators sang and waved flags with no incidents reported. The Associated Press
HALIFAX — Racial justice advocates say systematic racism has led to the overrepresentation of Black and Indigenous people in Nova Scotia's criminal justice system. The group told a legislative committee today that systemic and structural racism in Canada has disproportionately affected Black and Indigenous people. Emma Halpern, executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia, says there needs to be mandatory anti-racist training for police and other front-line workers who encounter African Nova Scotian and Indigenous residents. Robert Wright, spokesperson for the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition, says despite the group's advocacy for the end to police street checks, the practice continues to be supported by the province. Wright says his group has seen a disappointing lack of commitment to anti-racism initiatives in the province's criminal justice sector. Halpern says government departments need to have a more "human-centred approach" for offering services to racialized people in the criminal justice system. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
Canadian welterweight Rory (Red King) MacDonald will make his PFL debut April 29 against David (Bulldawg) Michaud. MacDonald, a former UFC title contender and Bellator champion, signed with PFL in December 2019 but had to sit out last year as the promotion cancelled its season. The 31-year-old MacDonald (21-6-1) last fought in October 2019 when the B.C. native, who now calls Montreal home, lost his Bellator 170-pound title to Douglas (The Phenom) Lima. The 32-year-old Michaud (18-6-0) lost to Ray Cooper III last time out in the final of the 2019 PFL welterweight season. He had won seven of eight fights before that. Cooper fights in the PFL co-main event April 29 against France's Jason Ponet. The PFL said the location for the card will be announced next week. PFL 2 will also feature 2019 light-heavyweight champion Emiliano (He-Man) Sordi of Argentina against Chris Camozzi and Jordan (Big Swinging) Johnson, runner-up to Sordi, against Tom (Filthy) Lawlor in another 205-pound matchup. The Professional Fighters League, formerly known as the World Series of Fighting, works on a set schedule unlike other MMA promotions. The 2021 campaign, featuring six weight classes, starts with PFL 1 on April 23, with each fighter having two bouts during the promotion's "regular season.'' The first half of the schedule takes place April 23, 29 and May 6 with the second half set for June 10, 17 and 25. Fighters earn performance-based points, with three points for a win, plus bonus points for knockouts and submissions. They are seeded in standings for their weight class based on their point totals. The top eight in each division advance to the single-elimination playoffs in October, where fighters must fight twice and win twice in the same night to advance to the finals. The 2021 PFL World Championship is slated for New Year's Eve with the winners each earning US$1 million for being crowned PFL champions. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press